Lulu Wang Reveals Bong Joon Ho's Influence at Final Draft Awards

Bong Joon Ho and Lulu Wang arrive at the 15th Annual Final Draft Awards - Getty-H 2020
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

The screenwriting awards honored Wang, Quentin Tarantino and 'Pose' creator Steven Canals for their work.

At the 15th annual Final Draft Awards on Tuesday, Lulu Wang was presented with the New Voice Award for Film by Parasite director Bong Joon Ho, where she flipped the script and revealed how much his work has influenced her own projects. 

After Bong, through his translator, called her film The Farewell "one of the most beautiful and delicate films of last year, and I'm not just saying as an Asian filmmaker — I'm saying this as a fellow director," Wang accepted her award on stage at the Paramount Theater in Los Angeles and declared she'd been watching his films "forever" and was taken by their tone. 

"I know it's not an obvious parallel, but the tone is such an inspiration for me in the comedy and the suspense and the heart and tackling so many issues about how we all live together," she said, before referencing his Golden Globes speech and thanking the director for "encouraging Americans to get over the one-inch-tall barrier of subtitles and open them up to new stories. I think we have a similar mission and the success of Parasite is incredible because it's a step in the right direction of making the American film market feel a little bit more global."

Wang also reflected on her own personal journey with The Farewell and her fight to get it made, thanking all of the people who allowed the writer-director to be in control, which she acknowledged was a rare thing for someone with her voice and identity. "It's exponentially riskier to invest in a movie like The Farewell and it's something I want people to remember because now that the film is doing well, so many people love to say, 'I would've made that film,' but I know that they would not have because I tried and they didn't," she said.

The awards show, which honors the year's best in screenwriting and is presented by popular screenwriting software program Final Draft, also recognized Pose creator Steven Canals with the New Voice Award for TV and Quentin Tarantino with the Hall of Fame Award. 

The Once Upon a Time in Hollywood filmmaker accepted the award from Walter Hill, "one of the biggest heroes I had growing up," and walked the audience of several hundred screenwriters through writing his first scripts as a teenager until he wrote his first finished project with True Romance. Tarantino recalled Roger Avary — his Pulp Fiction collaborator who sat front row at the ceremony — being the first to read the script that "looked like the uni-bomber's manifesto" and also the one who typed it up. 

"I can honestly say that I don't know if I would be standing here if he didn't type it up for me because I don't know that I would ever have the balls to think that these crazy imaginings in my head were actually real until I saw them typed up, and there was nobody else who would ever do that for me," Tarantino said while giving his thanks to Avary. 

Canals, who was presented his honor by Pose castmembers MJ Rodriguez and Angel Bismark Curiel, declared that with his projects, "I want to use my voice to uplift communities and individuals that have a voice that no one listens to, I must use my voice to remind those on the margins that you deserve to be accepted, embraced, loved and affirmed and I will use my voice to stand up against racism, sexism, misogyny, classism, homophobia, transphobia," adding that "until I'm asked to leave, I will continue to use it to create original content that centers diverse voices and moves our industry's needle toward more inclusion and more equity."

The award capped a big day for Canals, after it was also announced Tuesday that he had signed an overall deal with Disney's 20th TV. Of what he plans to do next, the creator told THR that "I want to do a little bit of everything, I'm a lover of X-Men and Transformers and aliens. I love genre so I'm excited to dive in there but my bread and butter is and will always be family drama, that's where my voice sings the best. I have a lot of really exciting ideas in the pipeline."